Bellator 73 Headlined by Curran vs. Pitbull, Features Two Tournament Finals
The third installment of Bellator’s 2012 Summer Series, which will take place August 24 at Harrah’s Tunica Hotel and Casino in Mississippi, looks to be a stacked card as it delivers a Bellator Featherweight Title bout, the Season 6 Bantamweight Tournament Final and the 2012 Summer Series Light Heavyweight Tournament Final.
Anchoring Bellator 73 will be Bellator Featherweight Champion Pat Curran taking on Season 4 Tournament Champion Patricio “Pitbull” Freire. Curran, a consensus top featherweight, will be making his first title defense after trouncing Joe Warren in March, a bout that saw the Illinois native take the title with one of the most violent TKO finishes in recent memory. His opponent, “Pitbull” has been sidelined by injury for over year, having not competed since defeating Daniel Straus to become the season 4 Featherweight Tournament Champion.
With 5 Months Left in Current Deal, Bellator Not Sure What Happens with Eddie Alvarez
Free agency is a part of every major sport and can make or break a team or promotion depending on how things do or don’t fall in a negotiation.
Over the last several years since Bellator Fighting Championships was first conceived, Eddie Alvarez has been the face of the organization and arguably its biggest star.
But with his contract coming to an end in just a few months, Bellator may be on the cusp of losing one of its top fighters, but according to CEO Bjorn Rebney it’s all part of the business.
Rebney has worked closely with Alvarez ever since he first signed on with the promotion in 2009, but with his deal coming to an end soon, there are no guarantees he will remain under the Bellator banner.
UFC's Edson Barboza says 2012 ESPY nomination is a win for MMA
Edson Baraboza didn't see his recent ESPY nomination as a personal accomplishment so much as he did a win for the sport of MMA.
Barboza's spinning-wheel-kick KO of Terry Etim at UFC 142 recently was nominated as one of the year's top 16 plays as part of the 2012 ESPN ESPY Awards. .
Baraboza said that having an MMA highlight actually rank among those in the NFL, NBA, MLB and worldwide soccer is already a big win for his chosen sport.
Siyar Bahadurzada Injured, Out of UFC 149, Matt Riddle in
Siyar Bahadurzada, who originally replaced an injured Yoshihiro Akiyama, is the latest scratch from July's UFC 149 event.
UFC officials today announced Bahadurzada has been forced to withdraw from the event due to injury, and Matt Riddle (6-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) now steps in to face Chris Clements (11-4 MMA, 1-0 UFC).
Sonnen reveals source of anger toward Silva
The dislike that top UFC middleweight contender Chael Sonnen feels toward titleholder Anderson Silva did not begin during the months leading to their first battle in August 2010.
It started much earlier.
Sonnen told ESPN.com this week the reason for his hostility toward Silva, and surprisingly, another high-profile Brazilian fighter.
“Anderson Silva and Wanderlei Silva, who have had me p---ed off for years, have gone around and tried to bully people,” Sonnen said. “That stuff doesn’t work with me.
“The buck stops here.”
Cung Le Talks VADA and Random Drug Tests in MMA
It was recently revealed via Twitter that former UFC champion B.J. Penn had been approached by VADA (Volunteer Anti-Doping Agency) about submitting to drug testing along with his opponent Rory MacDonald ahead of UFC 152.
Penn has long been a very outspoken advocate against the use of performance enhancing drugs, and volunteered when asked by VADA to submit to the testing.
A few moments later, MacDonald responded to Penn’s request and accepted as well.
While Penn and MacDonald’s enthusiasm around the drug tests should be commended, they weren’t the first people in the UFC to be approached by VADA.
Strikeforce's Coker: Despite Rousey's dominance, she has hands full against Kaufman
Strikeforce bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey is a headliner again.
Rousey, 25, who has less than seven minutes of pro fighting experience, is already widely regarded as the current face of women’s mixed martial arts.
Now, for the second time in 2012, she’ll take a main-event spot for Strikeforce, the UFC’s sister promotion and most prominent MMA organization that features women’s fights.
On 3-0 UFC run, Chan Sung Jung wants shot at featherweight champ Jose Aldo
Maybe Chan Sung Jung just didn't feel like he said it loud enough after his last fight.
So on Friday, "The Korean Zombie" reiterated what he said after his last win: He wants a shot at UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo, and when he gets it, he plans on leaving with the title.
Jung isn't on Twitter much – he's posted just seven messages since his May 15 upset of Dustin Poirier. But it's his last post that is standing up and asking to be noticed.
Tito Ortiz: Maybe Forrest Griffin Should Retire Too
‘If I lose to Tito, I’m going to retire from life. Seriously’
~ Forrest Griffin – June 2012
On paper, UFC 148 is supposed to be the final event of Tito Ortiz’s Hall of Fame UFC career, but he’s not planning on strolling quietly into the night.
As a matter of fact, what has Ortiz ever done quietly while he’s been in the UFC?
That’s why when the former light heavyweight champion heard about Griffin’s comments about their third and final fight, Ortiz figured maybe it was just his time to walk away from the sport as well.
“I’m excited for the fight. Forrest is a tough guy and I know he’s training really hard. I just heard a little thing saying that if he loses to me he’s going to retire. Well, it looks like he better put on his retirement shoes cause it’s going to be an exciting fight and I plan on having my hand raised,” Ortiz said when appearing on MMAWeekly Radio.
UFC on FOX 4's Vera doesn't care why 'Shogun' chose him to fight
Brandon Vera (12-5 MMA, 8-5 UFC) gets goose bumps every time he thinks about fighting Mauricio "Shogun" Rua (20-6 MMA, 4-4 UFC) at UFC on FOX 4.
Just the thought of fighting an MMA icon offsets the knowledge that Rua picked him as perhaps an easier opponent.
"I don't give a damn what his reasons are or what happened or how this came about," Vera told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
Rua turned down Glover Teixeira when Thiago Silva re-injured his back and was forced to withdraw from their fight at UFC 149. A pink slip was threatened for the former champ, whose pass on the Teixeira fight was aired to the public. Rua countered that Vera's name was more valuable to his career.
Cynics would translate that to mean Vera is an easier fight for Rua than Teixeira, who blasted Kyle Kingsbury in his recent octagon debut. Vera has been around long enough to make that connection, and he's certainly familiar with the disappointment of fans who saw him go from top heavyweight contender to endangered light heavyweight.
The whys just don't matter to him at this point, he said. He's got the fight, and the fans and Glover Teixeira do not.
UFC 150's Tavares looking for win over Hallman, bout with Diaz or Maynard
Twelve fights into his UFC career, Brazilian lightweight Thiago Tavares is tired of flying under the radar.
He's lost just once since 2009, and three of his four career octagon defeats came along with a "Fight of the Night" bonus.
As he prepares to face longtime veteran Dennis Hallman at August's UFC 150 event, Tavares is ready to make a little noise. Once he puts "Superman" away, Tavares is calling out Nate Diaz and Gray Maynard.
"I will beat Dennis Hallman," Tavares told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "After that, I want Nate Diaz or Gray Maynard. I really want to prove myself.
"I think Nate Diaz and I would be a crazy, exciting fight. I always try to submit people, and he likes to knock everybody out. Gray Maynard just beat Clay Guida, but I would give him a real fight. I just want to fight against the best names and move up in the division."
Rejuvenated UFC vet Joe Stevenson has 'good feeling' before return from layoff
If you had assumed Joe Stevenson had been retired the last year or so, you could probably be forgiven.
After all, the former UFC title challenger and "TUF" winner had been next to nowhere to be found.
If Joe "Daddy" went anywhere, he said, it was to get a new mental focus. And now, with that in hand – or in head – he's finally rejuvenated for his Saturday return to the cage against Dakota Cochrane at Resurrection Fighting Alliance 3.
Tatsuya Kawajiri Close To Agreement With ONE FC
If the stars align like we think they will, Tatsuya Kawajiri will soon be a fighter on the OneFC roster based on information obtained by MMA-JAPAN.
In what was OneFC's biggest week in the free agent market, it appears they are about to add long time Japanese superstar Tatsuya Kawajiri to what is beginning to be a very deep roster. Sources with knowledge of the negotiations informed us this week that Kawajiri is very close to signing an agreement with OneFC and a deal will likely be reached "very soon". Both sides are said to be in "very deep negotiations". Adding Kawajiri to the roster would further bolster the promotions status as one of the top promotions in the world.
Kawajiri has been a staple in Japanese MMA for quite some time. As part of many fights that were worthy fight of the year candidates, Kawajiri has never backed down from a good fight. Fights with Takanori Gomi and Eddie Alvarez are just a couple of The Crusher's wars that excited fans around the world.
Ovince St. Preux and T.J. Cook will collide at “Rousey vs. Kaufman.”
Strikeforce's Aug. 18 fight bill continues to develop, as promotion officials announced Friday that light heavyweights Ovince St. Preux and T.J. Cook will collide at “Rousey vs. Kaufman.”
Headlined by a women's bantamweight title tilt pitting reigning champion Ronda Rousey against former belt holder Sarah Kaufman, the event takes place at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego. The main draw airs on premium cable network Showtime, immediately preceded by the preliminary card broadcast on sister network Showtime Extreme.
A former linebacker at the University of Tennessee, St. Preux recently saw an eight-fight winning streak snapped by Gegard Mousasi on Dec. 17. Prior to his decision loss to the Dream light heavyweight champion, “OSP” notched four wins in the Strikeforce cage, outpointing Antwain Britt, Benji Radach and Ron Humphrey before finishing Joe Cason at Challengers 17 last summer.
Forrest Griffin hints retirement is near
Former light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin is set to meet Tito Ortiz for a third time in the co-main event of UFC 148 on July 7. It’s expected to be the final fight of Ortiz’s career.
In a candid interview with ESPN.com, Griffin, who enjoyed the birth of his first child last year, spoke on how much time he has left in the sport, whether or not this recent string of losses for Ortiz has tarnished his career, and how comfortable he would be accepting a fight against a dangerous up-and-comer in the division.
ESPN.com: What was the experience of your last fight like, going to Brazil and trying to concentrate on Mauricio Rua while your wife was in labor back in Las Vegas?
Griffin: It really wasn’t that distracting. Maybe some time when I was down there and she was real good about censoring what she told me. The problem with that fight wasn’t anything other than Shogun hitting me in the head. That was more the problem with that fight than my wife being pregnant. It’s funny, I really didn’t think (about the loss). It was a s----- flight, I flew back with Dana (White). That’s a tough flight. You don’t want to sit next to your boss after you don’t do such a great job at work. After that, it was like, “we’re in the hospital.” So, I really didn’t think about it other than the flight home.
ESPN.com: Did you talk to Dana at all on the flight?
Griffin: I watched "Band of Brothers" with headphones on.
Urijah Faber Says MMA Needs Chael Sonnen
One thing most people can agree on about Chael Sonnen is that he is one of the most polarizing figures in mixed martial arts. But that’s about it.
Not many people have the insight into Sonnen’s background to see how he became the brazen character that finally got under the skin of current UFC champion Anderson Silva, pushing and prodding him until he cracked and unleashed the brutal tirade we heard on the recent UFC 148 media conference call promoting their July 7 rematch.
Many will debate whether or not Sonnen even has a place in MMA, a sport that has roots in the more disciplined approach of traditional martial arts. Former WEC champion and current UFC interim title contender Urijah Faber isn’t among them.
“I think this sport needs guys like Chael Sonnen,” said Faber at a recent question and answer session.
Shogun and Lombard Open as Sizeable Favorites In Upcoming Bouts
Injuries have derailed some of the summer’s biggest fights, but there are still plenty of match-ups to talk about including the debut of a former Bellator champion and the return of a former UFC title holder.
Former Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard will make his long awaited Octagon debut at UFC 149 where he faces former light heavyweight Tim Boetsch in a 185lb showdown.
According to Nick Kalikas from BetOnFighting.com, Lombard’s reputation as a knockout artist will follow him to the UFC where he has opened as a sizeable favorite over UFC veteran Boetsch.
Lombard comes in as a whopping -310 favorite with the comeback on Boetsch at +240
Rua opens as an expected favorite in the fight with -290 odds in his favor while Vera comes back at the underdog with +220 odds on his side.
Criticism aside, Strikeforce's Tyron Woodley focused: 'It's my time to be champion'
Tyron Woodley has taken some criticism from fans in his MMA career, but he's really in no mood to apologize for his game plans.
Woodley (10-0 MMA, 8-0 SF), who meets Nate Marquardt (31-10-2 MMA, 0-0 SF) next month for the vacant welterweight title in the co-main event of "Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy," said sometimes, fights are just going to end in decisions.
"It’s not like you don't try to finish. It's not like you make a decision, 'OK, I'm going to let this fight go to the three rounds,'" Woodley told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) earlier this week. "Some guys just don't want to be put away. I don't want to be put away. You have to find a way to go for the victory shot and get dominant positions, try to do damage."
Woodley's career started with five submission finishes, including three in Strikeforce. But four of his last five wins have come by decision, including two splits. And it seems many times, with MMA fans, it's what have you done for me lately.
Against Marquardt, a former UFC middleweight title challenger who will be making his Strikeforce debut, Woodley takes on an opponent who has been finished just three times in 43 fights.